Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* There's something unsettling about the man who hires the newly formed Phoenix PI firm of former sheriff Mike Peralta and his former deputy, historian David Mapstone. That feeling is confirmed when the client is shot point-blank as he drives away from the meeting. All of which intensifies the former lawmen's interest in pursuing an investigation into the suspicious death (ruled a suicide) of Grace Hunter, who fell naked and handcuffed from the nineteenth-floor balcony of a San Diego condo. That Peralta and Mapstone are somehow intricately involved in this deadly situation from the start becomes increasingly apparent, as they search for who's behind it and why, with the help of their previously estranged wives, both of whom return home. Yet as their private lives settle down, both Peralta and Mapstone face heightened danger from a terrifying and all-too-plausible enemy. (As a sidebar to his investigation, Mapstone contrasts soulless Phoenix, where the planners got it wrong, with charming San Diego, where they got it right.) Mapstone's seventh outing (after South Phoenix Rules, 2010) features tight prose and plotting and a pair of complex and fallible protagonists whose character development continues in a series that just keeps getting better. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

The knocked-around Phoenix PI returns in his seventh entry (after South Phoenix Rules) and heads to San Diego for a disturbing case of hidden identities and human trafficking.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews

Early in Talton's taut seventh David Mapstone mystery (after 2010's South Phoenix Rules), a well-dressed man calling himself Felix Smith visits former historian and deputy sheriff Mapstone, now a PI, and his partner, former sheriff Mike Peralta, at their shabby Phoenix, Az., office. Smith pays them ,000 in cash to investigate the apparent suicide of Grace Hunter, a former prostitute who went over a San Diego, Calif., condo's 19th-floor balcony. Shortly after Smith leaves, Mapstone and Peralta hear gunfire. Outside, they find Smith with his face blown off in his parked car. Following their one lead, Mapstone and Peralta drive to San Diego, promoted as "America's Finest City," in search of Grace's boyfriend, who they discover is in trouble with someone called AFP ("America's Finest Pimp"). Succinct, wry descriptions of politics and the unwieldy development of Phoenix run alongside the fast-paced plot. While the end reveals rather cliché villains, the journey is thoroughly satisfying. (May)

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